Yan'an (延安; Yánān) is a city in Shaanxi Province.
It is hard to believe that a city, so in the middle of nowhere, is considered a major pilgrimage site. Not a religious pilgrimage, but a pilgrimage site for those who follow the Communist philosophy. This is considered to be the "Cradle of Chinese Revolution"; it is where the Communists established their main base after the Long March. After Chairman Mao's birthplace in Shaoshan, Yan'an is the number two pilgrimage site for those who are interested in recent Chinese communist history.
In and around Yan'an there are several spots related to the history of the Chinese Communist Party. The place where Mao and his comrades lived and worked, places where party conferences were held and many more.
Yan'an is not a usual destination for foreign visitors, so some communication skills will be needed to find a place in a local budget hotel. One option is to take the local bus from the train station to the town center, and get off in the center, in the stop just beneath a obvious triple-pedestrian-bridge. A local guest house (40-70Y per night per room) can be found just in front of the bus stop, on the second floor.
Ganquan Grand Canyon (甘泉大峡谷) lies two hours away from the city. Taxi ride is around 260 yuan one way. There is a bus departing from Yanan East Bus Station (延安汽车东站) at 7.30 AM. To return to Yanan you need to get to Xiasiwan County (下寺湾镇) which is 10 minutes drive away and go to Ganquan County (甘泉县) which is one hour drive away. Local workers can help arrange a minibus to come pick you up at the entrance (20 yuan) but you will need to wait till it gets full at Xiasiwan. At Xiasiwan get a bus to Yanan, one hour drive, 10 yuan if you pay on the bus and 13 yuan if you buy the ticket before getting on the bus.
Ganquan Grand Canyon is a red sandstone canyon. Entrance ticket is 168 yuan which includes bus fare with the canyon area. Minibus takes tourists to Mudangou (20 minutes ride from the entrance) and Huashugou (30 minutes ride from Mudangou). You need to spend around 30 minutes to see Mudangou part and 40-60 minutes for Huashugou part.